Letters to the Editor

MLA pay increase touchy subject

The hot-button issue of MLAs’ salaries is back on the table as an independent panel reviews what compensation is suitable.

Despite what many of us think, most of our elected officials do work hard on our behalf.

Public office also disrupts personal lives by taking them out of town away from their families and careers.

In some cases, MLAs earn less in Victoria than they would had they stayed with their regular jobs.

Likely all British Columbians want their politicians treated fairly and the compensation package must be one that encourages people to get involved in the democratic process.

That said, it must always be clear that MLAs are paid directly by taxpayers. That is public money going into their pockets.

The base pay for an MLA is $76,100 a year, while cabinet ministers make another $39,000 on top of that.

There are numerous local residents, who also have significant responsibilities at work, who will never come close to the base salary.

For many British Columbians who have been hit personally by government cuts over the years, the idea of MLAs earning more can’t sit well.

Premier Gordon Campbell certainly took positive action when he asked an independent commission to tackle the controversial issue. The hope is that this will keep British Columbians from accusing politicians of setting their own salary.

But, in the end, members of the B.C. Legislature will still have to vote on the panel’s findings. Essentially they will still be the final say on what they get paid. Hopefully, when that time comes, they will remember who pays the bill.

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